Edmund Burke Quotes & Wallpapers

Edmund Burke
Total Quotes: 645


The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered. Edmund Burke
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Government is the exercise of all the great qualities of the human mind. Edmund Burke
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Poetry is the art of substituting shadows, and of lending existence to nothing. Edmund Burke
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I decline the election. - It has ever been my rule through life, to observe a proportion between my efforts and my objects. I have never been remarkable for a bold, active, and sanguine pursuit of advantages that are personal to myself. Edmund Burke
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Illustrious predecessor. Edmund Burke
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The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again: and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered. Edmund Burke
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All protestantism, even the most cold and passive, is a sort of dissent. But the religion most prevalent in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principles of resistance: it is the dissidence of dissent, and the protestantism of the Protestant religion. Edmund Burke
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If any ask me what a free Government is, I answer, that, for any practical purpose, it is what the people think so, - and that they, and not I, are the natural, lawful, and competent judges of this matter. Edmund Burke
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Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom. Edmund Burke
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But whoever is a genuine follower of Truth, keeps his eye steady upon his guide, indifferent whither he is led, provided that she is the leader. Edmund Burke
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Whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain, and danger, that is to say, whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime; that is, it is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling .... When danger or pain press too nearly, they are incapable of giving any delight, and [yet] with certain modifications, they may be, and they are delightful, as we every day experience. Edmund Burke
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Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. Edmund Burke
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I am not one of those who think that the people are never in the wrong. They have been so, frequently and outrageously, both in other countries and in this. But I do say that in all disputes between them and their rulers, the presumption is at least upon a par in favour of the people. Edmund Burke
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But a good patriot, and a true politician, always considers how he shall make the most of the existing materials of his country. A disposition, to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman. Everything else is vulgar in the conception, perilous in the execution. Edmund Burke
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The power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable and interesting circumstances belonging to it, and that which tends most to the perpetuation of society itself. It makes our weakness subservient to our virtue; it grafts benevolence even upon avarice. The possession of family wealth and of the distinction which attends hereditary possessions (as most concerned in it,) are the natural securities for this transmission. Edmund Burke
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Of all things, wisdom is the most terrified with epidemical fanaticism, because, of all enemies, it is that against which she is the least able to furnish any kind of resource. Edmund Burke
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Too much idleness, I have observed, fills up a man's time more completely and leaves him less his own master, than any sort of employment whatsoever Edmund Burke
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That cardinal virtue, temperance. Edmund Burke
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Reflect how you are to govern a people who think they ought to be free, and think they are not. Your scheme yields no revenue; it yields nothing but discontent, disorder, disobedience; and such is the state of America, that after wading through up to your eyes in blood, you could only end up where you begun; that is, to tax where no revenue is to be found... all is confusion beyond it. Edmund Burke
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When slavery is established in any part of the world, those who are free are by far the most proud and jealous of their freedom. Edmund Burke
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All virtue which is impracticable is spurious. Edmund Burke
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All writers on the science of policy are agreed, and they agree with experience, that all governments must frequently infringe the rules of justice to support themselves; that truth must give way to dissimulation, honesty to convenience, and humanity itself to the reigning of interest. The whole of this mystery of iniquity is called the reason of state. Edmund Burke
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No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. Edmund Burke
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This study [of law] renders men acute, inquisitive, dexterous, prompt in attack, ready in defense, full of resources. In other countries, the people, more simple, and of a less mercurial cast, judge of an ill principle in government only by an actual grievance; here they anticipate the evil, and judge of the pressure of the grievance by the badness of the principle. They augur misgovernment at a distance, and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze. Edmund Burke
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To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ, as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country and to mankind. Edmund Burke
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Society is indeed a contract.... As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Edmund Burke
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What shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart. Edmund Burke
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In a free country every man thinks he has a concern in all public matters, - that he has a right to form and a right to deliver an opinion on them. This it is that fills countries with men of ability in all stations. Edmund Burke
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War, says Machiavel, ought to be the only study of a prince; and by a prince he means every sort of state, however constituted. He ought, says this great political doctor, to consider peace only as a breathing-time, which gives him leisure to contrive, and furnishes ability to execute military plans. Edmund Burke
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You cannot plan the future by the past. Edmund Burke
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Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young men, and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation. Edmund Burke
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The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts. Edmund Burke
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Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones. Edmund Burke
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Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants. Edmund Burke
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But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Edmund Burke
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To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely. Edmund Burke
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He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. Edmund Burke
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Ambition can creep as well as soar. Edmund Burke
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Custom reconciles us to everything. Edmund Burke
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The person who grieves suffers his passion to grow upon him; he indulges it, he loves it; but this never happens in the case of actual pain, which no man ever willingly endured for any considerable time. Edmund Burke
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Society is indeed a contract. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Edmund Burke
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Nothing tends so much to the corruption of science as to suffer it to stagnate; these waters must be troubled before they can exert their virtues. Edmund Burke
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He that accuses all mankind of corruption ought to remember that he is sure to convict only one. Edmund Burke
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The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise isgone! it isgone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, which felt a stain like a wound, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness. Edmund Burke
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What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue! Edmund Burke
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To reach the height of our ambition is like trying to reach the rainbow; as we advance it recedes. Edmund Burke
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Prejudice is of ready application in the emergency; it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue, and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision, skeptical, puzzled and unresolved. Prejudice renders a man's virtue his habit; and not a series of unconnected acts. Through past prejudice, his duty becomes part of his nature. Edmund Burke
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A nation is not conquered which is perpetually to be conquered. Edmund Burke
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Economy is a distributive virtue, and consists not in saving but in selection. Edmund Burke
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In a democracy the majority of citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority...and that oppression of the majority will extend to far great number, and will be carried on with much greater fury, than can almost ever be apprehended from the dominion of a single sceptre. Under a cruel prince they have the plaudits of the people to animate their generous constancy under their sufferings; but those who are subjected to wrong under multitudes are deprived of all external consolation: they seem deserted by mankind, overpowered by a conspiracy of their whole species. Edmund Burke
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The only kind of sublimity which a painter or sculptor should aim at is to express by certain proportions and positions of limbs and features that strength and dignity of mind, and vigor and activity of body, which enables men to conceive and execute great actions. Edmund Burke
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There are circumstances in which despair does not imply inactivity. Edmund Burke
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The moment that government appears at market, the principles of the market will be subverted. Edmund Burke
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It is by imitation, far more than by precept, that we learn everything; and what we learn thus, we acquire not only more effectually, but more pleasantly. Edmund Burke
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The parties are the gamesters; but government keeps the table, and is sure to be the winner in the end. Edmund Burke
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I despair of ever receiving the same degree of pleasure from the most exalted performances of genius which I felt in childhood from pieces which my present judgment regards as trifling and contemptible. Edmund Burke
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Those who quit their proper character to assume what does not belong to them are, for the greater part, ignorant both of the character they leave and of the character they assume. Edmund Burke
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Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy. If parsimony were to be considered as one of the kinds of that virtue, there is, however, another and a higher economy. Economy is a distinctive virtue, and consists not in saving, but in selection. Edmund Burke
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Refined policy ever has been the parent of confusion, and ever will be so as long as the world endures. Plain good intention, which is as easily discovered at the first view as fraud is surely detected at last, is of no mean force in the government of mankind. Edmund Burke
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I consider how little man is, yet, in his own mind, how great. He is lord and master of all things, yet scarce can command anything. Edmund Burke
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Falsehood and delusion are allowed in no case whatever; but, as in the exercise of all the virtues, there is an economy of truth. It is a sort of temperance, by which a man speaks truth with measure, that he may speak it the longer. Edmund Burke
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All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke
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There is but one law for all, namely, that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity - the law of nature, and of nations. Edmund Burke
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Good order is the foundation of all things. Edmund Burke
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But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint. Edmund Burke
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They [Americans] augur misgovernment at a distance and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze. Edmund Burke
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A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood. Edmund Burke
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Custom reconciles us to every thing. Edmund Burke
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When we speak of the commerce with our colonies, fiction lags after truth, invention is unfruitful, and imagination cold and barren. Edmund Burke
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All persons possessing any portion of power ought to be strongly and awfully impressed with an idea that they act in trust and that they are to account for their conduct in that trust to the one great Master, Author, and Founder of society. Edmund Burke
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